Pathway-based analysis of rare and common variants to test for association with blood pressure
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Our goal is to test the effect of both rare and common variants in a blood pressure study. We use a pathway-based approach, gene-set enrichment analysis, to search for related genes affecting 4 phenotypes: systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, the difference between each of them and mean arterial pressure, which is a weighted linear combination of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Using the real Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 data, we consider both rare and common variants in our analysis and incorporate other covariates by using a recently proposed test statistic. Our study identified a commonly enriched gene set/pathway for the two derived phenotypes we analyzed: the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and mean arterial pressure, but none is identified with the individual blood pressure phenotypes. The gene CD47, in the enriched gene pathway/set, was reported in previous studies to be related to blood pressure. The findings are not surprising because the sample size we use in our analysis is small, and hence power to detect small but important effects is likely inadequate.